Bangladesh began transferring several hundred Rohingya refugees on Thursday to what the UN and rights groups worry is a dangerous low-lying island prone to cyclones and floods.
Almost a million Rohingya—most of whom fled a military offensive in neighbouring Myanmar in 2017—live in a vast network of squalid camps in south-east Bangladesh.
With many of them refusing to return without guarantees for their safety and rights, and with violent drug gangs and extremists active on the sites, the Bangladeshi government has grown increasingly impatient to clear out the camps.
On Thursday at least 10 buses left the camps in the Cox's Bazar region, headed for the port city of Chittagong, police said.
"Ten buses carrying some 400 have left for the island," local police chief Ahmed Sunjur Morshed told AFP.
From Chittagong the refugees were due to be taken by military landing craft to the island of Bhashan Char on Friday, officials said.